By  on February 7, 2007

MILAN — Donatella Versace feels completely at ease walking down the runway for her post-show applause. It's receiving awards that makes her nervous.

That explains the mix of fear and excitement Versace says will accompany her on Thursday when she will receive the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style award and accept one for her late brother, Gianni Versace. The recognition for their contributions to fashion and entertainment comes almost a decade after Gianni Versace was murdered outside his villa in Miami, in July 1997.

"It's a great honor for me to receive this prize, especially because I'm getting it in Hollywood, which is my favorite place in the world," Versace said. "I miss Gianni very much. He deserves this award and I only wish he could have received it in person."

"The house of Versace has an inspired legacy of being an influencer of culture in all its forms, for more than two decades," Peri Ellen Berne, chairman of the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style, said in a statement. "The Versace brand is synonymous with cutting-edge, trendsetting style, glamour and sensuality that has earned them an iconic place in fashion history."

Certainly, Gianni Versace, who founded the company in 1978, established a significant connection with the movie industry during his lifetime and was a pioneer in exploiting the allure of the red carpet, both as a media tool and as a cash machine.

"Gianni used to joke about how the only dust he wanted to stick was stardust," smiled a slinky Donatella Versace in head-to-toe black, during an interview at the house's Via Gesú palazzo.

Stick it did, and she certainly wasn't going to wipe it away. Once she took the creative reins of the fashion house, Donatella Versace carried on where Gianni Versace left off, which is demonstrated by her knockout evening gowns that are Oscar-night favorites.

"Hollywood, especially young Hollywood, is so influential and inspirational because on the red carpet these actresses are so well put together; their hairstyle, earrings and makeup all make for a perfect image," she explained.

The celebrity factor was a tried-and-true formula for both siblings, but Versace admitted that from other perspectives she had to adjust her focus.

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